|Hospital Bed 311.(Photo by: Ariel Jerozolimski)|
'Treasury can’t afford to give in to nurses demands'
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH, JPOST.COM STAFF
Nurses strike continues after talks fail; Treasury calls nurses to return to work, says demands are "exaggerated."
Labor sanctions by nurses continue for a third day on Wednesday,
after talks with Treasury officials ended without agreement shortly before 10
p.m. on Tuesday.
The Treasury called on nurses to return to work after a
work dispute over their conditions and salary had kept them on a limited
schedule for two days.
In a statement, the Treasury stated that it had
offered “a number of offers meant to solve the dispute and our differences with
the nurses,” without mentioning what the offers in question were
The Treasury said it was responsible for maintaining the
entire health system and the economy as a whole, and could not afford to give in
to “exaggerated demands.”
Earlier on Tuesday night, the Israel Nurses
Union and Treasury wage officials were having “important negotiations,” union
chief Ilana Cohen told The Jerusalem Post.
But she did not give any
details or predictions as to whether the nurses’ sanctions would enter their
third day on Wednesday or be halted.
The nurses implemented the sanctions
over the Treasury’s failure to reach agreement on a new labor agreement and
increase the number of nurses.
The Health Ministry’s medical
administration made its first statement on Tuesday night, saying that there was
a “significant decline in activity” in the hospital surgical theaters, and
reductions of 30 percent to 50% in admissions to the public hospitals and in
visits to Clalit Health Services clinics.
Only cancer patients and other
urgent patients have undergone surgery in the past two days. In addition, a
serious slowdown has been felt in outpatient clinics, and the queues for
examination and treatment have lengthened considerably, the ministry
Internal medicine departments are heavily occupied with people
suffering from complications of winter-connected conditions, but the patients
are receiving treatment, the Health Ministry said. The ministry’s
recommendations that everyone over the age of six months get a flu shot is even
more important now.
Some hospital emergency rooms are very overburdened,
while others have seen a decline of patients because people are aware of the
nurses’ sanctions and have kept away. Delivery rooms are functioning
Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On said that Prime Minister (and formally
health minister) Binyamin Netanyahu “has dried up the public health system and
presented the nurses with the bill.” Gal-On said the nurses‚ struggle was
“completely justified, as they work under impossible conditions with a severe
manpower shortage, too few beds and not enough equipment.”
on the Finance and Health ministries to accept the nurses’ demands for higher
salaries and more benefits and bring about a quick end to the sanctions.